Diabetes is a widespread, chronic condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Your body turns most of your food into sugar and releases it into the bloodstream. As blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases insulin, which lets the blood sugar into the cells so it can be used as energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it does produce. Over time, this can lead to serious health issues, but diabetes is manageable with the proper knowledge and strategies.

Early detection

Research shows that early detection and treatment of type 2 diabetes has many benefits. This model showed that the treatment intensity was less important than when it was initiated. Screening for type 2 diabetes can include a fasting blood glucose test, which measures your blood sugar after not eating for eight to ten hours, or an A1C test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past three months.

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Common and uncommon signs

Knowing the signs of diabetes can lead to earlier detection and initiation of treatment. Some common signs of diabetes common signs of diabetes are peeing frequently, having excessive thirst, losing weight without trying, being very hungry, feeling very tired, or experiencing blurry vision. Some uncommon symptoms of diabetes can include very dry skin, sores that heal slowly, and an increased number of infections. Children with type 1 diabetes may also experience nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.

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Role of diet

Eating the right foods is an essential part of managing this condition. People with diabetes should eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and non-fat or low-fat dairy. You will likely also need to cut back on certain foods that can cause blood sugar spikes, like sugary drinks, starchy vegetables, fried foods high in saturated fats, and white bread, pasta, and rice. If you have diabetes, it's important to eat the right amount of the right types of foods every day. Work with your doctor or a nutritionist to develop a plan that works for you.

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Beneficial foods

Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) can help regulate blood sugar. GI measures how quickly foods with carbohydrates raise your blood sugar. Foods with a low GI increase blood sugar slowly, while foods with a high GI increase it rapidly. High GI foods can make it harder to control diabetes. Swapping low-GI foods for high-GI foods is a good way to incorporate them into your day. For example, use whole-grain brown rice instead of white rice, whole-grain bread for white bread, or steel-cut oats for instant oatmeal.

Wooden table full of fiber-rich whole foods, perfect for a balanced diet


Symptom overview

Symptoms of diabetes can include fatigue, blurred vision, increased hunger, increased thirst, increased urination, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, unexplained weight loss, and sores that do not heal. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear and progress quickly, while the symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop over several years.

  • Note: some people with type 2 diabetes do not have any symptoms or symptoms that are so subtle that they do not notice them.

Infographic explaining the types and treatments of Diabetes


Importance of medical consultation

If you have diabetes, it is essential to consult and continue following up with your healthcare provider. Because diabetes can have complications, it is crucial to monitor whether the condition is improving, stabilizing, or worsening. If you have diabetes, some standard tests and checkups can include eye exams, foot exams, kidney tests, blood pressure checks, and blood tests for A1C and cholesterol. You should see your provider every three to six months.

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Comprehensive treatments

There are for diabetes. For people with type 1 diabetes, the only treatment is insulin injections, as the pancreas does not produce insulin naturally. You will generally need insulin every time you eat and drink to control your blood sugar. People with type 1 diabetes may inject their insulin with a needle and syringe, use an insulin injection pen, or use an insulin pump. More options exist for treating type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, can help manage type 2 diabetes, but many people with diabetes take medication as well. Medication options include:

  • Insulin injections.
  • Oral medications that can lower blood sugar and help the body use insulin better.
  • Other injected medications that prevent blood sugar from rising too high and can make you feel less hungry and potentially lose weight.

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Personalized care

Personalized care can help address unique preferences, needs, and values and has been shown to reduce the risks of heart attack and diabetes-related complications. A personalized treatment plan considers multiple variables, including therapeutic interventions, disease duration, economic factors, complications, and co-morbid conditions.

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Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes.

  • Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
  • Type 2 diabetes is more common and is caused by a combination of factors, including obesity, physical inactivity, extra belly fat, insulin resistance, and genetics.

Blood sample for Islet Antigen-2(IA-2) test, to determine autoimmune diabetes mellitus.


Lifestyle tips

from day to day includes healthy eating, physical activity, and monitoring your blood sugar.

Stick to a regular schedule for meals and snacks, eat smaller portions, and follow your doctor's recommendations. Aim for about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day, including activities like biking, swimming, or walking, as well as resistance exercise two to three times a week.

Avoiding inactivity is important, too. Try to stand up and walk around every 30 minutes. Monitor your blood sugar as instructed by your doctor; you may need to check it daily and before and after exercise. If you take insulin, you may need to check it more frequently.

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Support strategies

Diabetes can also affect your mental health. If you're experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, talk to your doctor right away about getting treatment. You should also consider working with a mental health counselor who specializes in working with people with chronic conditions.

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Supportive remedies

Research shows that some natural remedies and interventions can be effective at helping control blood sugar. These include fenugreek, cinnamon, chicory, bell pepper juice, and chamomile tea. Other interventions, like yoga, guided imagery, ta chi, and acupressure, may also be effective. Talk to your doctor before starting any herbal or natural treatment.

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Complementary approaches

If you decide to try an alternative treatment, you must continue to use the medications and follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.

No treatment can cure diabetes, but many combinations of therapies can be used to manage it. Tell your doctor about any alternative therapies you are using, as some herbs can cause interactions with other medications, and continue to do regular follow-ups and blood tests to monitor your condition.

Unrecognizable female nurse healthcare professional checking blood sugar level of senior male patient while sitting next to him and poking his finger with needle pen.


Indicators and risk factors

By knowing the risk factors for diabetes, you can take the necessary steps to prevent it.

You are at risk of developing diabetes if:

  • You are overweight
  • Are 45 or older
  • Have prediabetes
  • Have a close family member with diabetes or
  • Are physically active less than three times a week

Women who have had a baby weighing over nine pounds or who have had gestational diabetes are also at higher risk. People who are African American, Latino, Hispanic, or native to Alaska have a higher risk as well.

Diabetes risk factors concept.


Prevention strategies

Strategies for preventing type 2 diabetes include the following:

  • Losing weight and keeping it off
  • Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week
  • Eating healthy foods most of the time

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Advanced treatment insights

Many advances in treatment are underway, leading to more treatment options for people with type 2 diabetes.

Pharmacological solutions are the most promising. The newest medications focus on the gut-brain connection and target the central nervous system. For example, drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists can cause improved satiety and weight loss, regulate gastric emptying, and may suppress glucose. Other studies are focusing on drugs that mimic food restriction by either increasing satiety or decreasing appetite.

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FAQs on prediabetes

Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to meet the criteria for diabetes. Some common questions people have about this condition are:

  • What causes prediabetes? Prediabetes occurs when the insulin in your body does not work as well as it should.
  • How is it diagnosed? Prediabetes is diagnosed with blood tests, typically fasting glucose and A1C.
  • Can prediabetes be reversed? The best way to avoid prediabetes advancing to diabetes is to make lifestyle changes. Lose weight, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly.

One person is answering question about prediabetes. The person is thinking if he is at risk for prediabetes.


Cost-saving tips

There are to save money on diabetes care. For example, you can call other pharmacies to see if you can find your medication at a more affordable price or let your doctor know you are having trouble affording medications, as they may know of programs that can help.

Buy supplies in bulk and shop around online to get the best price. You can also ask your doctor for any free samples they can get you. Plan your meals, cook them in bulk, and freeze them for later. Avoid eating out, and shop sales when you can.

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Carb choices

Simple carbohydrates break down quickly, leading to blood sugar spikes. Choose complex carbohydrates, which take longer to break down and, therefore, do not cause rapid blood sugar increase.

  • Complex carbs include bran cereals, beans, lentils, carrots, brown rice, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, and oatmeal.
  • Avoid foods like french fries, sugary drinks, white rice, baked goods, and candy bars.

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Meal Planning support

Managing carbohydrate intake can be challenging, but it is essential for diabetes management. Focus on eating fiber-rich vegetables and whole fruits, and choose whole grains wherever possible. Go for low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and eat more beans and lentils. You should also limit added sugars, though this can be challenging. Always read the nutrition labels to determine if something has added sugar.

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Healthy starts

Breakfast can be a challenging meal for someone with diabetes, and it is not always easy to know what to eat and what to avoid.

Some  and contribute to overall nutrient intake include:

  • Low-fat Greek yogurt with no added sugar
  • Oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Whole-grain toast with peanut butter or avocado,
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • Herbal tea

Healthy tip: avoid foods like bacon, sausage, sugary cereal, baked goods, jellies, and jams.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.